10 Apps to Help You Learn a New Skill

10 Apps to Help You Learn a New Skill

Your smartphone can be a detriment or a powerful tool, depending on how you use it. It could distract you with social media notifications and silly games, or it could help you expand your skill set. If you’d prefer the latter, check out these 10 apps that can help you learn a new skill.

1. Khan Academy

Want to brush up on what you learned in school, explore a topic that interests you or learn a new skill? Khan Academy can help with that. Take courses, watch videos and complete exercises in an area of your choosing. The site focuses on STEM, but also has history, economics and standardized test practice.

The Benefits You Get: It’s all up to you, depending on the courses that strike your fancy. Feel like enjoying somewhat of a time-machine effect by revisiting the Algebra I concepts your math teacher drilled into your brain during high school? On the other hand, maybe you’d like to get a review of U.S. history and compare our nation’s past to current events to gain a new perspective and discover where we’ve made progress. There’s no reason to limit your learning here.

2. Headspace

Mindfulness and meditation can improve your focus, help you worry less and make you more creative. If you want to learn this skill, Headspace will walk you through how to do it with animated videos and guided meditations. You’ll have to pay if you want full access, but the basic course is free.

The Benefits You Get: After grasping the basics of meditation, the acquired and gradually improving ability to keep yourself focused on your breathing during stressful situations can lead to reduced overall anxiety, a greater awareness of the world around you and the valuable capability of summoning your inner strength in times of need.

3. Duolingo

Duolingo can help you learn a new language, which will, of course, help you communicate with people who speak that language, but will also increase your understanding of your native tongue. The app offers a large library of lessons for each language, as well as simulated conversations that make it easy to learn in just a few minutes per day.

The Benefits You Get: Enjoy the relief of being able to communicate with the locals during your next vacation abroad, without furiously flipping through a phrasebook as your embarrassment grows. Also, taking time to learn a new skill involving language could make you even more valuable to your employer, especially if there is a component of the organization that requires communicating in more than one language.

4. Dictionary.com

If you also want to build your vocabulary in your mother tongue, download the app from dictionary.com. In addition to looking up words, you can use the thesaurus and enable the “Word of the Day” to grow your vocab one day at a time.

The Benefits You Get: Have you always wanted to find a new calling as a crossword puzzle champ? You’ll get that advantage, not to mention realizing how freeing it is to add a few of your newly learned words into documents and emails.

5. Fitocracy

Improving your physical fitness level can help you feel better mentally and emotionally, as well as physically. Fitocracy provides you with tips for reaching your fitness goals, in addition to reminders and motivation. In the free version, you can browse exercises categorized by goal and experience level, view progress and earn points for working out. The paid version allows you to hire a coach who will train you through the app.

The Benefits You Get: When you learn a new skill that requires regular exertion and not giving up, you’ll become more diligent and determined. You might shed some pounds and notice better muscle tone, too.

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6. TradeHero

If you’ve always wanted to play the stock market, but weren’t sure how to get started, TradeHero is the answer. This gamified app allows you to trade virtual stocks, so you can learn how the market works. Then, when you’re ready, you can fund your account and switch to trading real money.

The Benefits You Get: Say goodbye to staring at stock tickers with a befuddled expression as you try to track trends. Plus, if you ever get invited to a dinner party where at least a few of the attendees are seasoned investors, you’ll be able to hold your own in conversations, and maybe bring up opinions the other guests haven’t thought of yet. As such, you learn a new skill that directly impacts your confidence.

7. MindTools

MindTools is an app designed to help you take your career, as well as your personal life, to the next level. Within this app, you can learn a variety of new skills and strategies for leadership, team management, stress management and creativity. There’s even a section on learning how to better acquire skills.

The Benefits You Get: You’ll love feeling how easy and empowering it is to learn a new skill that could take your livelihood to greater heights. Plus, because MindTools presents content in manageable chunks, you can engage with the material during any short bouts of downtime, making boredom a non-issue.

8. Trivia Crack

If you want a fun way to learn interesting factoids, download Trivia Crack. With this app, you can challenge your friends to a game of trivia and increase your knowledge of art, science, geography, history, sports and entertainment.

The Benefits You Get: Feel more at ease during any group game involving quick recall of random facts, plus enjoy the mental stimulation that happens when you learn a new skill that grows your knowledge bit by bit.

9. Udacity

Coding and other technologies are invaluable in today’s world. The Udacity app provides an easy way to learn them. From basics like HTML to advanced skills like artificial intelligence and virtual reality, Udacity has it all. You can even enroll in a nanodegree course that provides you with a certificate that shows employers what you know.

The Benefits You Get: Besides the certificate option already described, relish the convenience of learning about tech topics on your preferred schedule without traveling to a physical campus.

10. Blinkist

You can learn a lot from books, but it also takes a lot of time to read them. Blinkist changes all that by condensing popular nonfiction books into 15-minute reads or audio files, so you can get their main tips and insights without the time commitment. You can choose from more than 2,000 titles in 19 categories, including business, science and self-improvement.

The Benefits You Get: If you’ve ever felt guilty for never making enough time to read books, relieve that stress. Moreover, you have the choice to listen to the material whenever you like, making your daily commute much more productive.

You can never run out of things to learn. You’ll probably never run out of apps that help you grow your skill set, either. If you want to boost your everyday productivity and learn something new, try out these 10 apps.

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Kayla Matthews is a technology writer and the editor of Productivity Bytes. Her work has been featured on Digital Trends, MakeUseOf, VICE, VentureBeat, The Daily Dot and WIRED, among others. Follow her on Twitter to read her latest posts.

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